2012 World MMA Bantamweight Scouting Report: #2 - Aljamain Sterling

Aljamain_sterling_jpg_large_medium
Name: 22px-flag_of_the_united_states Aljamain Sterling
Nickname: --
Age: 22
Height: 5'7"
Location:
Cortland, New York

Chiming in at #2 on the 2012 World MMA Bantamweight Scouting Report, Ring of Combat bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling (5-0) claims his spot on our countdown. The 22-year-old two-time NCAA Division III All-American wrestler has recorded five straight wins since turning pro in April, beating fellow 2012 Scouting Report rankee Claudio Ledesma (5-2) in June to obtain the Ring of Combat crown. After a TKO win over Evan Chmielski at CFFC 10 in July, Sterling won the CFFC bantamweight strap three months later, beating heralded wrestler Sean Santella (8-3-1) over five rounds at CFFC 11.

Don't be fooled by the perception that NCAA Division III credentials mean little when stacked up against NCAA Division I champions like UFC veterans Phil Davis and Josh Koscheck. That may be true on the wrestling mat, but the goal for amateur wrestlers turned mixed martial artists is to transition those skills to the cage successfully. Sterling has done that, utilizing an explosive takedown game that has enabled him to beat some of the best young prospects in the Northeast region.

Surprisingly, Sterling has amassed an undefeated professional record despite needing to improve in the technical areas of both his stand-up and ground games. Specifically, he has problems settling into dominant positions on the ground, and he lacks the know-how to finish submissions. That could, however, be a testament to the tough competition he's faced so far in his career.

The upside, however, is that Sterling is only 22 years old, and he's one of the most athletic fighters on our countdown. He has a number of years before he settles into his prime, and he will undoubtedly learn a great deal as a member of Team Bombsquad, a camp that houses UFC veterans Pat Audinwood, Mike Massenzio, and Christian Morecraft along with Bellator's Rene Nazare and Kenny Foster.

As long as Sterling continues to work on his ground skills and striking, he has the youth and athleticism to beat anyone in the regional scene while he hones his technique. Look for Sterling to get a chance in the big leagues soon, either at bantamweight or within the confines of the newly-formed flyweight division in the UFC.

Video footage of Aljamain Sterling after the jump. Also, view all of his Ring of Combat bouts at GFL.tv.

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#2 - Aljamain Sterling
#3 - Chris Holdsworth
#4 - Josh Hill
#5 - Fabiano Fernandes
#6 - Claudio Ledesma
#7 - Sirwan Kakai
#8 - Kyoji Horiguchi
#9 - Leandro Hygo
#10 - Pedro Munhoz
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Aljamain Sterling vs. Vincent Morales
Debut as an amateur - May '09

Check out all of his wrestling footage via Google Videos, and as aforementioned -- GFL.tv hosts most of his fights.

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